Click here to listen to Katha Pollitt read this poem. Lotus. Papyrus. Turquoise. Lapis. Gold. A jackal-headed god nods in the noon that shimmers over the river as if fanned by invisible slave girls. Frogs fall silent , stunned by the sun or eternity. The Pyramids have been crumbling for centuries.
Snug in his bassinet of reeds
the lucky baby plays with his toes,
naked. What does he care
for his mother’s eyes in a thorn tree?
Around his head an alphabet of flames
spells Thunder . Transformation.
Woe to women.
The sun begins its red plunge down the sky.
Deep in the earth a locust’s eyes snap open.
Frogs resume their trill
And punctual to the minute
down the path,
tottering on jewelled sandals, comes
the beautiful lonely princess
who’s wandered in from another kind of story.